Researchers at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Incas Diagnostics in the Ashanti Region have partnered with scientists from the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR) to develop a rapid test kit for the novel coronavirus.
The KCCR is one of the major testing centers for COVID-19 in Ghana.
The latest development was revealed in a statement released by the KNUST Public Relations Officer, Daniel Norris.
The statement noted that the Rapid COVID-19 Diagnostic test will serve as a complementary product to the current Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing for COVID-19.
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According to him, the new product is in line with two of Ghana’s objectives as the country grapples with the novel coronavirus; to contain the spread of the virus, inspire the expansion of domestic capability and deepen self-reliance.
The KNUST-Incas Diagnostic technology uses finger-prick blood – just like blood glucose test or home pregnancy test – to detect two different types of antibodies produced by the body when it is fighting off Covid-19 infection at least seven days after infection – whether the person is showing symptoms or not.
This is a major breakthrough because, while the world waits for a vaccine, virologists are unanimous in their admonishment that widespread testing remains a key strategy to ‘flatten the curve’ of the pandemic anywhere.
The rapid test kit will take 15-20 minutes to perform and this will also enable those tested to know their results in a shorter time to enable decision making in real-time by health authorities.